Alliance wants border wait eased
Aug 24, 2007 9:38 AM
The Border Trade Alliance (BTA) is asking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the immediate end to the current policy of checking and manually entering drivers license information, but not verifying citizenship, according to BTA information.
In July, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers began checking the drivers licenses for 60 percent of travelers entering the United States from Canada and Mexico, and the result is proving to be "disastrous wait times at the border," which have nearly doubled since the process got underway, BTA said.
The association expressed its concerns in a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. In the letter, BTA argued that "State-issued drivers licenses in current form do not provide proof of citizenship nor should they be considered secure documents. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has repeatedly reported to Congress on the ease in which its investigators have crossed our borders using counterfeit drivers licenses. Finally, there has been no information shared with the public on how the Department of Homeland Security or CBP plan to safeguard the privacy of US citizen information that is being collected as a result of this policy."
As part of the letter, BTA also offered several recommendations to improve secure traveler programs that BTA believes would ensure the physical and economic security of the nation, including:
- Inter-departmental coordination to address the underlying causes for the increased wait times at the border.
- Coordinating efforts by DHS, the Department of Transportation, and the General Services Administration to address infrastructural challenges and security procedures for persons and cargo that contribute to increased wait-times.
- The availability of an alternative travel document that is not cost prohibitive prior to implementation of the passport requirement at land and sea ports-of-entry.
Seamless installation of necessary technological infrastructure at all ports-of-entry.
See Bulk Transporter coverage of many border issues at bulktransporter.com.
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